In the earliest memory I have of my grandmother she stands outside our car waving goodbye to me. We’ve brought her in our station wagon to the train station. I am slumped in the backseat and hysterical to be leaving her behind. My mother comforts me through the rear-view mirror as she turns the steering wheel causing the car to leave.
Earlier this week my grandmother was put on life support for pneumonia. When I found out I spent the evening looking for just the right Willie Nelson song to put on. Irene, that’s her name, loves Willie like my mom loves Van Morrison and I love Ray Lamontagne. We have a bit of a private romance going on with our musician’s music. I couldn’t find just the right song. You were always on my mindjust seemed too sad. Instead I put on a bluesy rendition of Woodie Guthrie’s Irene Goodnight. It needed a glass of wine. Then I put on Johnny Cash’s version. I never discussed with my grandmother how she felt having Johnny Cash sing her name. Pretty darn good, I bet.
Today she managed to breath on her own. I actually heard her voice through the phone – cracky and tired. It was a good sound. I was just thinking of her and had put on a Bob Dylan song when my mother called. “I was just playing you a song,” I told my mother. “Would you like to talk to grandma?” she asked.
Best sound of the day: Three generations of women talking on one line.
For you mom, with love: